Posts Tagged ‘voiceover ISDN studio’

Studio Upgrade

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dVoiceBox mixerMy studio is  built around my medium format 32 channel Soundcraft Ghost mixing desk.  It is almost certainly the case that if I was starting out now I would not have a desk like this but 18 years ago when I bought it new I was recording a lot of production library and TV music.

Back then I was running lots of hardware samplers, sound modules and synths and I needed to be able to mix them all at the same time. At first the studio had them all hard wired in. These days if I do music projects it’s all done “in the box” – in the computer using Logic so I wouldn’t really need 32 channels.

Nevertheless I have no plans to get rid of this desk – it’s great for tracking sessions – I love the pre-amps on voices and recently I’ve also been loving them for drums.  There is also the other thing that when a client comes in to record for the first time – they walk in the door and instantly what they see visually says “professional recording studio” – it puts their mind at ease.

Studio mixer fadersBecause I don’t plan to get rid of the Ghost I had to decide what to do recently when the rack mounted power supply for it appeared to be on the way out: it was buzzing very ominously.  I went onto ebay to look for a replacement as I know they come up from time to time.

While searching Soundcraft Ghost power supplies I found the studio systems website – run by Tim Jones.
I discovered that Tim is an analogue mixing desk guru who refurbishes and repairs all kinds of wonderful analogue conoles.  But even better than that as far as I was concerned – Tim builds replacement power supplies for analogue desks under the Blue Dog Power Supply brand name.

Tim told me that he’d built lots of power supplies for Ghosts.  I decided it would be better to have brand new power unit rather then buy a secondhand Soundcraft unit which might be ageing (and buzzing) like my existing one.
Blue Dog Power 03
I ordered a Blue Dog power supply and it arrived within a few days,  I put it in the rack yesterday, connected it up and fired up the Ghost. Tim claims his power supplies give a much lower noise floor on the mix buss.
I’d seen lots of people reporting this too but wondered how a new power supply could make such a  difference.  All I can say – it does! The noise floor is loads lower.

So far I’m very happy with the Blue Dog – Tim was very helpful and answered all my questions, the unit came quickly and it works just the way I want – Thanks Tim!

Blue Dog Power 02You can find out more about Tim Jones on his website or Facebook page

Chris Radley

dVoice Box Studio

 

ISDN radio session

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I’ve just been providing ISDN radio interview services for Markettiers4DC.  Children’s writer and illustrator Alex T Smith was in the dVoiceBox booth where he was joined by Melanie Goodchild, spokesperson for toy manufacturer Chad Valley.

They were lined up for a dozen radio interviews to talk about new research commissioned by Chad Valley that looked at the time of peak creativity in your life – plus the things that make adults reluctant to read or play with their children.  Apparently peak imaginative creativity is at around age 4!  Also adults are often reluctant to play with children, or even read stories complete with silly voices, because they feel self conscious or worry that they aren’t “doing it right”.

It was an interesting, varied and enjoyable session – with the usual chops and changes – one radio station pulled out at the last minute, another station took the interview live on-air but the presenter sounded woefully under prepared, while others were well prepared, asked good questions and got great interaction with the guests.

This kind of ISDN  radio session often gives me a slight pang of nostalgia – in all my years of working as a radio presenter I did loads of ISDN interviews. Many times in the past I was like the presenters I heard in this session – checking levels, struggling with the weird echo effect you get on ISDN lines, explaining about the pre-recorded or live nature of the interview, asking the questions. Now I find it’s interesting to be at the other end of that process.

However, unlike when I was the radio interviewer, these days I certainly have much more of an appreciation of how hard it is for the interviewees: constantly answering the same questions in each interview while trying to make it sound like they’re saying it for the first time. Both Alex and Melanie did a great job.

New Mixing Console

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We’ve just taken delivery of a new mixing desk at dVoiceBox.  It’s not to replace our Soundcraft Ghost, which continues to do great service in the control room but is for our voice booth.  It’s a 16 Channel Allen and Health Mix Wizard 4 and we’ll be using it for self-op ISDN voiceover sessions in the booth. It will also be available for self-op recording sessions in the booth too.

In addition the new console will also be replacing our trusty but ancient Soundcraft Spirit Folio desk for dmusic PA duties or for event recording activities like the Love in Leamington poet and multi-performer event we recorded earlier this year.

There’s quite a lot to desks to choose from in the 12-16 channel mixer market and it’s fair to say that Allen and Heath aren’t the cheapest manufacturer for this size of desk. However what swung it for me was the superior build quality plus the overall spec for the WZ4 which includes on board effects.

In common with other Allen and Heath desks the MW4 features an individual circuit board dedicated to each channel and bolted to the main panel where others have one single circuit board for the whole desk – mounted parallel to the main panel.  I wanted a good quality desk that would be at home in the studio while rugged enough for live situations and the WZ4 seemed to fit the bill.

It’s installed in our booth and has already been successfully used for a couple of self op recording sessions. We’ve also road tested it with the dmusic PA at a recent Firedaze gig near Leamington. It proved to be easy to use with a clear board layout, long throw faders, plenty of gain on the channels, effective EQ, nice on-board reverb/fxs and enough auxes to feed rather more monitor mixes then we have monitors for!

Looks like it could be quite a dependable workhorse.

New look website

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The dVoiceBox studio has been in existence for a few years. As I’ve explained on the “about” page the studio specialises in spoken word projects. This is because the studio is ideal for this kind of work. I started off recording bands but the set up isn’t very good for bands and in Leamington there are loads of other studios that are far better set up for band recording.

I’ve been a voiceover artist for much longer than I’ve run my studio and I know from first hand experience that although all studios offer to record voiceovers some are rather better at it than others. Voice work is an extra service that other most other studios offer, in addition to their main work which is recording music.

At dVoiceBox we only do voiceover, vocalist and spoken word projects – voices are what we focus on.

I recently decided that the studio website needed to be updated – it had served pretty well but what had looked great a few years ago was starting to look tired. I also wanted to have a website that performed better in SEO which these days seems to mean using a platform like Word Press. In addition my analytics were showing that more and more people were searching on mobile devices – so I wanted a site that worked well for those people too.

I’ve recently worked with web designer Duncan Arrow on a project to set up a fans only website for the band Firedaze so he seemed the logical person to bring in on the project.  He’d recently created his own WP theme which we’d used on the Firedaze project now he was keen to hone it’s functionality further. I briefed him on the look of the site – which I wanted to echo my main Chris Radley Voice Over site – and so he created the structure and the look and I wrote the content.

It’s still work in progress – but these day’s all websites are – For example I’ve still got to upload some audio examples of clients’ work and, up until just now, I still needed to write a first post for this blog. So now I’ve got that box ticked.

I hope to write regularly here. I’d found on my Voice Over blog that I was sometimes getting into the more technical aspects of the best mics to use and reviewing new equipment. A studio blog seems a more logical place for that kind of content.

Plus I hope to add some info and advice to help people starting out in the world of Voiceover.

 

Chris Radley
dVoiceBox